American Bank Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

American Bank’s Checking account options

American e-Checking

This interest-bearing checking account offers a ho-hum level of interest.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount to Earn APY

0.40%

$0-$999.99

0.40%

$1,000-$9,999.99

0.20%

$10,000-$24,999.99

0.20%

$25,000-$49,999.99

0.20%

$50,000-$99,999.99

0.20%

Over $100,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None. However, if you use an out-of-network ATM, the ATM’s owner may charge you a surcharge fee.
  • ATM fee refund: Up to $4.75 per transaction and $10 per month total in ATM surcharge fees if you keep at least $1,000 in the account.
  • Overdraft fee: If you have overdraft protection set up, you’ll be charged a $5 transfer fee to have the money transferred over from a linked deposit account. If you have an overdraft line of credit, there won’t be any charge for the transfer. If you don’t have overdraft protection set up, you’ll pay $35 per item, up to four charges per day (but only if the amount of the overdraft is more than $5).

Although this account is called “e-Checking,” you can also use it just like a regular checking account. This includes being able to write an unlimited number of physical paper checks; indeed, the account even comes with 100 free checks to start you off, as long as you order them at the same time you open your account.

The bank does offer a rewards program for using your debit card through uChoose Rewards — however, there’s no way to assess the value of these prizes until after you sign up. While it could offer some neat rewards, we wouldn’t bank on this as being a dealbreaker for opening the account or not. Additionally, if you want paper statements instead of e-Statements, you’ll pay a $2 monthly fee.

How to get American Bank’s e-Checking account

If you’re a U.S. resident age 18 or older, you can apply for an account online. You’ll need to provide your social security number and a driver’s license or another government-issued I.D.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Forever Free Checking

This account doesn’t earn any interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None. However, if you use an out-of-network ATM, the ATM’s owner may charge you a surcharge fee.
  • ATM fee refund: Up to $4.75 per transaction and $10 per month total in ATM surcharge fees if you keep at least $200 in the account.
  • Overdraft fee: If you have overdraft protection set up, you’ll be charged a $5 transfer fee to have the money transferred over from a linked deposit account. If you have an overdraft line of credit, there won’t be any charge for the transfer. If you don’t have overdraft protection set up, you’ll pay $35 per item, up to four charges per day (but only if the amount of the overdraft is more than $5).

We’re not really sure why you’d want to open this account. There is no monthly fee — but the e-Checking account doesn’t have one either, and at least that one offers interest. The only real difference is if you want paper statements: there is no fee for either e-Statements or paper statements with this account.

This account also comes with the uChoose Rewards program, and as already noted, chances are it doesn’t offer anything too out-of-this-world. To earn rewards, you’ll need to sign up with your debit card. You also get your first order of 100 checks free with this account if you place the order when you open the account.

How to get American Bank’s Forever Free Checking account

If you decide this account is right for you, you can apply online in just a few minutes if you’re a U.S. resident and at least 18. You’ll need to provide your Social Security number and a copy of your driver’s license or other identifying documents as a part of the process.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Gold Checking

This account doesn’t really offer anything particularly useful for eligible customers, especially when compared to American Bank’s other checking accounts.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount to Earn APY

0.10%

$0-$999.99

0.10%

$1,000-$9,999.99

0.10%

$10,000-$24,999.99

0.10%

$25,000-$49,999.99

0.10%

$50,000-$99,999.99

0.10%

Over $100,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None. However, if you use an out-of-network ATM, the ATM’s owner may charge you a surcharge fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: If you have overdraft protection set up, you’ll be charged a $5 transfer fee to have the money transferred over from a linked deposit account. If you have an overdraft line of credit, there won’t be any charge for the transfer. If you don’t have overdraft protection set up, you’ll pay $35 per item, up to four charges per day (but only if the amount of the overdraft is more than $5).

If you’re age 50 or older, you’re eligible to open this account. In return, you get a few tiny perks as compared to American Bank’s other accounts. You can get free checks (not limited to just the first order of 100), a small discount on traveler’s checks (1% of amount sold), your choice of free e-Statements or paper statements, and a $5 discount on renting a safe deposit box at American Bank’s sole branch in Allentown, Penn.

As with American Bank’s other checking accounts, you’re also eligible for the uChoose Rewards program if you register your debit card with the program website.

How to get American Bank’s Gold Checking account

You can apply online as long as you’re a U.S. resident. As a part of the application process, you’ll need to provide a copy of your driver’s license or another government-issued ID and your Social Security number.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How American Bank’s checking accounts compare

Unfortunately, American Bank doesn’t offer the best interest rates out there on its checking accounts. While it may be competitive in the local Allentown market, you’ll need to check one of these online checking accounts if you want to earn an even higher rate with your deposit.

American Bank’s savings account option

Statement Savings

American Bank’s only savings account offers a meager interest rate.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount to Earn APY

0.30%

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None. However, if you use an out-of-network ATM, the ATM’s owner may charge you a surcharge fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: If you have overdraft protection set up, you’ll be charged a $5 transfer fee to have the money transferred over from a linked deposit account. If you have an overdraft line of credit, there won’t be any charge for the transfer. If you don’t have overdraft protection set up, you’ll pay $35 per item, up to four charges per day (but only if the amount of the overdraft is more than $5).

Generally, banks offer a few different savings tools, including classic savings accounts like this one. However, this is the only savings account that American Bank offers, and it pays very little interest.

You can open this account on its own without any other American Bank accounts. However, if you want to receive a debit card with your account to make ATM transactions, you’ll need to have another primary account, such as a checking account.

Speaking of ATM transactions, you can make as many of these types of withdrawals as you want per month. You can also make as many in-person withdrawals or withdrawals by mail as you want. However, any other withdrawals, such as online withdrawals or automatic withdrawals to cover an overdraft, are allowed up to six per month, per federal Regulation D. If you go over the six-withdrawal monthly limit, you’ll pay $10 per withdrawal to the bank.

How to get American Bank’s Statement Savings account

You can open this account online as long as you’re at least 18 years old and a U.S. resident. As a part of the application process, you’ll need to provide American Bank with your Social Security number and a copy of your driver’s license or another official ID.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How American Bank’s savings account compares

If you’re looking to earn a high interest rate, this is not the account for you. It offers a very low interest rate, especially when compared to the top online savings accounts out there.

We suggest skipping this account or — if you really want to bank with American Bank — looking at its money market accounts instead, which offer higher interest rates and perform the same function as a savings account.

American Bank’s CD Rates

Certificates of Deposit

Make sure you’re committed before opening these CDs, since you could get zapped for taking an early withdrawal.

Term

APY

90 days

0.25%

182 days

0.30%

12 months

0.45%

18 months

0.45%

24 months

0.75%

30 months

0.75%

36 months

0.75%

48 months

0.75%

60 months

0.75%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on the CD term length:
    • For CDs of 12 months or less, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs between 12 months up to three years, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs of three years or more, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest

When you open this CD, you’ll get a couple of options for earning interest. The APY shown above assumes that you’ll allow the interest to roll back into the account each month to earn more interest; any withdrawals might reduce your actual APY.

If you’re OK with that, you withdraw interest earned at any time. You can also opt for automatic interest payments every so often, either by check (only if the payment would be more than $1) or deposited into another American Bank account. You can get automatic interest payments monthly (but only if you have at least $2,500 in the CD) or quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, depending on the term of the CD you have.

One downside to these CDs is that partial early withdrawals are not allowed. Rather, if you need to take the money out early, you’ll need to withdraw the entire balance — and pay an early withdrawal penalty on it, to boot.

When your CD matures, it’ll automatically be rolled over into another CD of the same type. If you’re not OK with that, you do get a 10-day grace period to withdraw the money to another account or make any changes to the CD.

American Bank also offers a CDARS program if you have a very large deposit (more than $250,000, which would put your deposit outside of FDIC insurance limits). This program splits up your deposit among several banks so that your entire deposit is still covered under FDIC insurance.

How to get American Bank’s certificates of deposit

You can open these accounts online in just a few minutes if you have your driver’s license (or another government-issued I.D.) and social security number handy.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Instant Access CD

You can withdraw your money without penalty with this CD — but only after the first seven days.

Term

APY

120 days

0.20%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: If you make an early withdrawal within the first seven days after you open the account, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest. After the first seven days, there is no penalty for early withdrawal.

If you’re not entirely sure about this whole CD-locking-money-away thing, this might be one CD to consider. You can withdraw the money penalty-free at any time your after your account’s been open for seven days. So, if you suddenly realize you’ve made a huge mistake before the seven days have passed and need to withdraw it immediately after you open it, you’ll pay a penalty of 90 days’ worth of interest.

When your CD matures, it’ll be automatically rolled over into another 120-day Instant Access CD. It’ll keep doing this in perpetuity until you withdraw the money.

How to get American Bank’s Instant Access CD

If you’re at least 18 years old and a U.S. resident, you can open these CDs online in just a few minutes. You’ll also need to provide your Social Security number and a copy of your government-issued ID.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Special Promotion CDs

Special Promotion certificates of deposits offer better rates, but they’re still not fantastic.

Term

APY

12 months

2.25%

60 months

1.85%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For the 12-month CD, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest. For the 60-month CD, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest.

American Bank does offer you the opportunity to earn a bit more interest if you deposit your money in this Special Promotion CD. But, there’s a hitch: this offer is only available to “new money” — i.e., money that you bring into American Bank from another source, such as your existing bank. You can’t open this CD by transferring in money from any of your existing American Bank accounts.

This means that when this CD matures, it won’t be renewed for another Special Promotion CD since that won’t be “new money” anymore. Instead, it’ll automatically be renewed as a regular 12-month or 60-month CD, depending on whatever term length you started out with. You do have a 10-day grace period after this automatic renewal happens, however, to withdraw the cash or open a different type of CD.

How to get American Bank’s Special Promotion CDs

You can open these accounts online as long as you’re a U.S. resident and at least 18 years old. Remember, you can only open these accounts with money in your possession from outside of American Bank.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How American Bank’s CD rates compare

American Bank doesn’t offer some of the uber-low rates that many big banks pay out on their CDs. Nevertheless, it still doesn’t offer top-dollar rates. For those, you’ll need to consider one of these top-performing CDs instead.

Furthermore, we don’t like the fact that you can’t make partial early withdrawals with these CDs. Forcing you to withdraw the full amount — and pay stiff penalties on this amount — seems more like a cash grab than anything else, since most banks don’t have this policy.

American Bank’s money market account options

e-Money Market

This is American Bank’s highest-yielding money market account.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount to Earn APY

0.35%

$0-$24,999.99

0.35%

$25,000-$99,999.99

0.35%

$100,000-$999,999.99

0.40%

$1,000,000-$2,499,999.99

0.50%

Over $2,500,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: If you have overdraft protection set up, you’ll be charged a $5 transfer fee to have the money transferred over from a linked deposit account. If you have an overdraft line of credit, there won’t be any charge for the transfer. If you don’t have overdraft protection set up, you’ll pay $35 per item, up to four charges per day (but only if the amount of the overdraft is more than $5).

If you want to bank with American Bank but want to earn more than the piddling rates that its Statement Savings account offers, consider this account instead. You still won’t earn a great rate, but at least you’ll earn a little bit more.

As with most money market accounts, you can write checks directly from this account. Unfortunately, it does not come with a debit or ATM card, so you cannot access your money via this route with this account.

This account is also subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which regulates reserve requirements for banking institutions and limits the number of preauthorized withdrawals and transfers that consumers can make from a savings account or money market account, banks may charge a fee, close the account or convert the account to a checking account as a result of excess withdrawals. If you happen to go over this limit in a month, you’ll pay a $10 per-withdrawal fee to the bank.

How to get American Bank’s e-Money Market account

If you’re a U.S. resident and at least 18 years old, you can open this account online in a jiffy. You’ll need to provide the usual personal information, such as your Social Security number and a government-issued ID.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Premium Money Market

If you prefer to use ATM cards over checks, consider this money market account.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount to Earn APY

0.20%

$0-$24,999.99

0.35%

$25,000-$99,999.99

0.35%

$100,000-$999,999.99

0.40%

$1,000,000-$2,499,999.99

0.40%

Over $2,500,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: If you have overdraft protection set up, you’ll be charged a $5 transfer fee to have the money transferred over from a linked deposit account. If you have an overdraft line of credit, there won’t be any charge for the transfer. If you don’t have overdraft protection set up, you’ll pay $35 per item, up to four charges per day (but only if the amount of the overdraft is more than $5).

This account offers a lower interest rate than the e-Money Market account, but in return it offers another benefit: you can use a debit/ATM card with this account, as long as you have another primary American Bank account such as a checking account. You can even enroll your debit card in the uChoose Rewards program so that you can earn extras for using your card.

In return for that card-access privilege, however, you’ll sacrifice another feature: you can’t write checks with this account. You’ll also face a $10 excess transaction fee for each withdrawal past your sixth of the month (not including in-person, ATM, or by-mail withdrawals).

How to get American Bank’s Premium Money Market account

If you decide this is the right account for you, you can open it online quite easily. You’ll need to provide your Social Security number and a government-issued I.D., and be a U.S. resident age 18 or older.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How American Bank’s money market accounts compare

Unfortunately, American Bank offers relatively poor rates on both of its money market accounts, especially when compared to the rates being offered by the current top money market accounts. We also don’t like the fact that you have to choose if you want either check-writing capabilities or debit/ATM card access. You can’t have both, which is unusual for money market accounts.

American Bank’s IRA account options

IRA CD rates

These IRA CDs offer the same rates as American Bank’s regular CDs.

Term

APY

90 days

0.25%

182 days

0.30%

12 months

0.45%

18 months

0.45%

24 months

0.75%

30 months

0.75%

36 months

0.75%

48 months

0.75%

60 months

0.75%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $250
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $250
  • Early withdrawal penalty: This depends on your CD’s term length:
    • For CDs of 12 months or less, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs between 12 months up to three years, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs of three years or more, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest

American Bank offers these IRA CDs for people who want to start saving for retirement, but want to earn a higher yield on their deposit than with an IRA savings account. You can open these IRA CDs as either a Traditional or a Roth IRA and you only need a $250 deposit to start. Other than that, these IRA CDs work in much the same was as American Bank’s standard CDs.

When your IRA CD matures, it’ll be rolled over into another IRA CD of the same term length. Before you panic, however, you do get a brief 10-day grace period to withdraw the money or make any changes to your CD. Another important point is that you can’t make a partial early withdrawal if you want to get the money out of the CD. Your only option is to withdraw and close the entire IRA CD, and pay the early withdrawal penalty on the full amount.

Keep in mind that there are also IRS-imposed rules on how you can withdraw the money. If you’re not yet at retirement age and you withdraw the cash without rolling it over into another IRA account (either at American Bank or another financial institution), you may have to pay taxes on that withdrawal and/or an early withdrawal penalty.

How to get American Bank’s IRA CDs

If you’re interested in opening one of American Bank’s IRA CDs, you’ll need to contact the bank directly — there is no option to open an account online yourself.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Special Promotion IRA CDs

You can earn a slightly higher rate on these IRA CDs, but only if you open them with money from outside of American Bank.

Term

APY

12 months

2.25%

60 months

1.85%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $250
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $250
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For the 12-month CD, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest. For the 60-month CD, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest.

If American Bank’s regular IRA CDs just don’t offer as much interest as you were hoping for, you can consider opening one of these accounts instead. However, you’re only eligible to open these IRA CDs if you deposit “new money” into the account — i.e., a transfer from another bank, or the cash you’ve been hiding under your mattress for the past 20 years (or wherever, really, as long as it’s not already held with American Bank).

You’re also not allowed to take partial early withdrawals from these IRA CDs. You can only withdraw the full amount — and pay the penalty on it — if you need to access your funds early.

When your CD matures, it won’t be rolled over into another Special Promotion IRA CD. Instead, it’ll transfer into a regular term IRA CD of either 12 or 60 months, depending on the term length of the IRA CD you opened. If that doesn’t suit your fancy, you do get a 10-day grace period to withdraw the money or make any changes without paying a penalty. Remember that if you withdraw the money from an IRA entirely and aren’t yet of retirement age, the IRS may be able to come after you for taxes and fees.

How to get American Bank’s Special Promotion IRA CDs

You’ll need to contact one of American Bank’s customer representatives if you’re interested in opening this account.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How American Bank’s IRA CD rates compare

Unfortunately, American Bank doesn’t really offer particularly great CD rates. The bank’s policy of not allowing partial withdrawals and forcing you to withdraw the full amount in the event you need the cash is also not very consumer-friendly. Instead, we recommend checking out our current top IRA CD picks if you really want to maximize the interest rate you get for less hassle.

IRA Statement Savings

Don’t bank on this account making you a millionaire, since it offers a paltry interest rate.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount to Earn APY

0.10%

$0-$999.99

0.10%

$1,000-$9,999.99

0.10%

$10,000-$24,999.99

0.10%

$25,000-$49,999.99

0.10%

$50,000-$99,999.99

0.10%

Over $100,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee:  If you have overdraft protection set up, you’ll be charged a $5 transfer fee to have the money transferred over from a linked deposit account. If you have an overdraft line of credit, there won’t be any charge for the transfer. If you don’t have overdraft protection set up, you’ll pay $35 per item, up to four charges per day (but only if the amount of the overdraft is more than $5).

If you want to save for retirement but don’t want to lock away your money in an inflexible IRA CD — especially one from American Bank that makes you withdraw the entire IRA CD and charges a penalty on it if you need early access to your cash — an IRA savings account might be a better option. We wouldn’t suggest holding your money here to grow it forever, since it doesn’t really offer that great of an interest rate.

This account doesn’t come with a debit/ATM card, meaning that the only convenient way to access your money is online, over the phone, or by visiting the bank.

How to get American Bank’s IRA Statement Savings account

You’ll need to call American Bank directly or visit their Allentown location if you want to open this account.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on American Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Overall review of American Bank’s banking products

American Bank doesn’t offer the meager rates or outrageously high fees that many big banks charge on their accounts. So, if you live in the Allentown area and want to work with a local bank that offers semi-decent rates, this might be one option to consider.

However, there are many higher-yielding alternatives available online for each one of its accounts. Therefore, we suggest passing on American Bank and instead looking for where you can get a better return for your hard-earned dollar. After all, if you can get the same quality of service (or better) with a bank that offers higher rates, why wouldn’t you choose that option?

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